A technical mind isn’t wired like most other minds are. As an IT person, you generally tend to be fully immersed in your work, digging deeper into the why and how of things, instead of simply accepting what is.
You thrive in dealing with complex data because therein lies a chance to untangle information and turn chaos into beautiful order. Putting systems in place excites you because you see the beauty of making things happen by employing what you know best - reason.
If this is you, then chances are, you sometimes find it hard to blend in. You may not be easily understood by those who don’t share your way of thinking and working. When in a highly social, subjective, intuitive environment, it’s easy to feel out of touch and out of your comfort zone, like a fish out of water.
The struggle is real and you cannot simply ignore it.
How do you deal with these challenges? First, in a true logical and systematic fashion, let’s break it down and see where solutions can fit in.
Mingling With People
Not that technical is the antithesis of social, but there is quite a chasm between managing machines and mingling with humans.
Years of being into details, logic, process, and technique may have shaped your mind and work habits a certain way. You probably spend extended time in front of your computer screen with limited human interaction, at least at your workplace. If done constantly, this can be isolating and could result in lack of practice for social skills.
In the IT world of algorithms, loops, and networks, interacting with people who naturally tend to be unpredictable, emotional, fussy, sometimes even irrational, can be tough for tech people. You probably find computers and software to be more straightforward and easier to manage, and you can’t be faulted for it.
What You Can Do
Try to expand your world by confronting your challenges and going out of your comfort zone. Be more inclusive in your social or professional circles and be interested in what other people do, even if it doesn't interest you at first.
Non-tech people have as much to offer as analytical minds do. Open up, learn from others, and don’t limit your world. This way, you can be more tolerant of individual differences and see things in a better perspective. It doesn’t have to mean joining big parties or clubs. You can start by simply going beyond your cubicle, office, or limited circle.
Reach out to your co-workers in other departments and hang out with your office chums outside of work. Or catch up with your old friends and learn about their interests and passions, whether arts, sports, or cars. Have a genuine interest in people and connect with those you like being around with. All you need to do is open yourself up and your social skills will take care of itself.
Leading A Team
Because of the challenges human interactions bring, a technical mind may also find it hard to lead a team of people with various personalities, backgrounds, and agendas. Non-tech staff like PR, marketing, sales, or customer service deal with the nuances of their role on a daily basis and have a more personal approach to their work.
If you find yourself thrust into a leadership role and unsure if you can rise to the challenge of all that it entails, the key is to face it head on. When it comes to managing people, there are a lot of non-binary perspectives and solutions, gray areas, and compromises. So how do techies' well-organized thought processes fit in and flow with the rest in their company who may have a more intuitive or instinctive way of solving issues?
What You Can Do
Communication is the key. This fosters an open flow of ideas that allows you to have a macro and micro view of things. As their leader, avoid imposing your ways without first hearing their views and suggestions. You may think that your idea is the best, but it pays to see other perspectives and approaches.
For example, there is more to a customer ranting about his subscription plan than meets the eye. Simply working the backend and technical side of it could cause you to miss the opportunity of turning it around to your advantage.
Lack of Work-life Balance
Find yourself losing track of time as you work on a program or analyze a system? For most IT professionals and enthusiasts, it's quite normal to sit and work for extended hours. Being sedentary with constant mental work can harm your health. In fact, IT professionals are prone to health issues like cardiovascular and mental health problems because of work-related stress.
Skipping meals is another issue and your wellness could easily get drowned in the sea of your work and deadlines.
Don’t let this be your lifestyle. No job is worth losing your health for. Constant busyness at work could negatively affect you physically, mentally, and relationally. Your success at work has to be aligned with your personal values.
Yes, you value your work and it’s your means to living the life you aspire to with your loved ones, but having more money but less energy and time, isn’t exactly a good trade-off.
What You Can Do
Set boundaries. Do not let your work dictate how you will live. You may be eyeing a promotion but your toddler is not gonna be a toddler forever. Do not miss out on those fun and heartwarming moments with your baby. And your teenage kid needs you to be there, even virtually. Your presence has to be felt and enjoyed.
Your spouse or partner may understand your professional and financial goals, but that does not mean they’re willing to always take the backseat in favor of your job.
And if you are not even dating because you don’t have time for it, maybe it’s time to give yourself a break in the love department. So manage your schedule to accommodate not just work, but family and personal affairs.
Squeeze in a good self-care hour each day like going to the spa, taking leisurely walks, doing breathing techniques, working out, eating in your favorite restaurant, learning a new hobby, etc. While this may not always be possible, a little of it is better than nothing. Do not let your work stress rob you of family, friendships, fun, and fitness. Have an accountability partner or coach who will remind you to realign your values with your work goals, so you do not lose sight of what truly matters.
Reprogram Your Life
It’s time to address your struggles before they swell and crash you down. If there’s a need to reconfigure parts of your life to create balance, then the best time to begin is now. You can make small changes and progress from there until you get to realign your professional and personal goals.
You may not be able to reboot things completely but your incremental efforts will help bring the improvement you need. Don’t over analyze, but do check in with yourself and straighten whatever is skewed.
Find the optimum flow that makes your life process smooth and efficient.